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CLIA Calls for Lift of Conditional Sailing Order to Allow Cruises in the US

Author: Olivia Sharpe

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The cruise trade body has called on US authorities to permit cruise operations to resume from American ports in July

CLIA has called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and allow for the planning of a phased resumption of cruise operations from US ports by the start of July.

The early-July timeframe is in line with President Biden’s forecast for when the United States will be 'closer to normal'.

CLIA's president and CEO, Kelly Craighead, said: 'Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific—with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets.

'These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of Covid-19. Additional sailings are planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer.'

According to the trade association, the 'very small fraction of reported Covid cases' - fewer than 50 based on public reports - is 'dramatically lower' than the rate on land or in any other transportation mode.

Craighead added: 'This is a testament to the industry’s unparalleled expertise, gained over more than half a century, in coordinating movements of guests and crew, efficiently organizing complex embarkations and excursions, and designing vessels that are more technologically advanced and operationally agile than any other mode of transportation.

'The cruise industry has adopted a high bar for resumption around the world with a multi-layered set of policies that is intended to be revised as conditions change. Our Members continue to follow this multi-layered approach to enhancing health and safety that has proven effective, making cruising one of the best and most adaptable choices for travel.'

Craighead also noted how 'the accelerated rollout of vaccines is a gamechanger in providing for the health and well-being of the public, especially in the United States, where President Biden expects all adults will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1, 2021'.

She also stressed how the CSO, issued in October, is 'outdated' given the industry's 'proven advancements'.

'The outdated CSO, which was issued almost five months ago, does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world, nor the advent of vaccines, and unfairly treats cruises differently. Cruise lines should be treated the same as other travel, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors,' emphasised Craighead.

According to CLIA, restarting cruises as part of the broader travel industry will provide a much-needed boost to the US economy—with the cruise industry supporting nearly 450,000 American jobs and contributing over $55.5 billion annually, prior to the pandemic.

Based on economic modeling by research firm BREA, more than 300,000 jobs have been lost in the US due to the suspension of cruises.

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